07 Feb Travel Tuesdays #No.9 – Italy, Part 2
Sorry about last week, Travel Tuesdays completely escaped my mind. You see, I was off to see Black Sabbath and my mind clearly couldn’t comprehend two such polarising concepts that are food tourism and the occult!
But back in Italy for this week. I review one of my most memorable meals from my trip, in part due to the restaurants rather eccentric characters. It was like being in an Italian sitcom, set in a restaurant. Hey, what a great idea, and anyone from the BBC reading, I own copyright to what I call The Italian Restaurant and am open to offers.
Oh and FYI, there are no photos unfortunately from the meal as the lighting was seemingly left in the hand of the moon, which whilst are very capable hands when it comes to bringing in the tides, are less productive in their light providing abilities!
Italy Part 2
Drogheria Della Rossa, Bologna
Via Cartoleria, 10, 40124 Bologna, Italy
My old man had booked to meet me during my travels for a few days in Modena and Bologna, for what above all was a long culinary weekend. Second to this, was a chance to see me; I’m not silly dad, but I completely understand! My dad was given the name of this restaurant via one of his Italian work colleagues and the meal I had here sticks out above many others from my trip.
The first thing you notice when entering is that the restaurant is a converted chemist. The second thing is how there is no menu, but instead just a long speech from the waiter and if your memory/Italian isn’t up to it, you’ll just have to have the last thing the waiter says (I speak from experience!) Then you’ll notice how the sommelier doesn’t seem to be doing very much sommeliering at all. In fact, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything, at all and just stands there with a glass of wine in hand … all night. In fairness, I say he didn’t do anything all night, he did top his own glass up with professional efficiency as soon as the glass had run dry!
This all added to what was a wonderfully unique atmosphere; a relaxed, Italian family dining room feel. A free glass of Prosecco and appetiser later we were sold. It isn’t just the food that lingers long in the memory at Drogheria Della Rossa, but that old word ambience, whatever that means, but it had a lovely one!
Saying this, I have fond memories of the desserts. Mine an almond semifredo. My dad’s a plate of mascarpone, apricots and dark chocolate drops. If I had to choose one moment I was really pleased that my dad came to meet me, it was when he let me finish off his pudding that night (I jest of course)… when he insisted on paying the bill at Osteria Francescana just pips it! But his dish (that I ended up eating most of) was a bit of a revelation for me, perhaps the simplest dish in its preparation I consumed during my five weeks in Europe and yet due to the freshness and quality of the ingredients, also one of the tastiest. I mean I don’t even like apricots! But these were apricots on steroids compared to the inferior variety I’ve had back home, which ironically probably do actually contain steroids (ooh food politics!).
Our meal lasted three hours, an hour per course (the education system hasn’t failed me!) Occasional glances towards the sommelier and you’ll see him still getting drunk of his own wine suggestions. He took the “oh wait, let me try it first to see if its good enough first” to a whole new level.
I mustn’t forget about the owner. If an alien came down to earth and he wanted to know what a stereotypical Italian Grandpa was like (you never know, it’s not an out of this world suggestion…), the owner of Drogheria Della Rossa would be the man to show them. He spent the night going table to table, making customers laugh, treating diners as his own family. He even cradled a baby until it stopped crying! He was like a modern day, slightly balding, Italian Jesus.
Must go rating:
8/10 – A very solid meal, made special by the restaurant’s atmosphere and staff.